Plastic Free July // REUSABLE WIPES
Following the theme of sustainability and babies, my other favourite eco switch this year has been our switch to cloth baby wipes.
We had already been using Cheeky Wipes for Rudy’s hands and face as soon as he started eating solid food, but at that time we were still using disposable nappies so we continued with disposable wipes for his bottom too. But as any parent knows, children get through A LOT of baby wipes as there is constant mess to contend with. And as with anything disposable, it’s easy to be frivolous with disposable wipes because they don’t cost much.
Except they do!
Disposable wipes cost around £50 per year, per baby or young child, but they also have a huge environmental cost too. In the UK, we dispose of 11 billion wet wipes a year. This includes baby wipes, antibacterial wipes and makeup wipes. They have become such an ingrained habit for most households, with or without children. But they are awful for the environment and our marine life too.
Disposable wipes take hundreds of years to decompose in landfill, or they’re mistakenly flushed down the toilet and end up in the water systems, creating blockages and causing plastic to spill out into our oceans and rivers.
This is not a sustainable way to keep our children clean.
At the very beginning of lockdown, we ran out of disposable wipes and couldn’t get hold of any due to the mad panic buying that was going on around Walthamstow. I decided it was the perfect time to switch to washable wipes as that was a sure fire way to never run out again. We bought a different set for his bottom (so that we didn’t mix them up) and have never looked back.
You need far fewer wipes per nappy change, they wash well and dry quickly and they’re always available (as long as you keep on top of the washing). All you need is a plastic tub filled partially with water and a few drops of lavender oil to keep them smelling nice. They stay fresh like this for a day or two before topping it up again. For hands and faces, they clean perfectly well just with water. There’s no extra washing involved as they can go in with your normal laundry, although you might want to pre-rinse very dirty cloths. For out and about, all you need is a small wet bag to store the dirty cloths, so they’re a perfect addition to a reusable nappy system if you’ve already got all the kit.
The wipes cost around £15 for a pack of 25 (we bought two packs) and they’ll be the only ones we need for a good few years.
That is a lot of spare money to spend on other things for the baby.
...or nice things for myself.